Top Physicians Increasingly Use Stereotactic Radiation Therapy in Efforts to Improve Length and Quality of Life for Patients with Cancer

In the hands of experts, Elekta Stereotactic Body Radiation Therapy (SBRT) technology is providing maximum precision and potency needed to treat aggressive cancers

Afghanistan — Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Many of the world’s leading radiation oncologists are employing the unique capabilities of SBRT to treat a variety of cancers that often have defied conventional radiation therapy techniques. A multitude of studies evaluating SBRT are ongoing and investigators are publishing articles that demonstrate the effectiveness of this technique. Two studies led by renowned radiation oncologists were conducted at centers that use Elekta SBRT technology, and their results were published recently.

University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center (Dallas, Texas)—SBRT provides excellent primary tumor control rates1
Investigators led by Robert Timmerman, M.D., used SBRT to treat nearly 60 patients with inoperable early stage lung cancer. The 2004-2006 Radiation Therapy Oncology Group (RTOG 0236) study was a Phase 2 North American trial of patients with non-small cell lung tumors where pre-existing medical conditions precluded surgical treatment.

“The main finding in this study was the high rate of primary tumor control, which is 97.6 percent at three years,” Dr. Timmerman notes. “SBRT as delivered in this trial provided more than double the rate of primary tumor control than previous reports describing conventional radiation therapy. Primary tumor control is essential for curing lung cancer.”

Dr. Timmerman adds that the three-year survival rate for the SBRT patients is 55.8 percent, which is considerably higher than the 20-35 percent two-year to three-year overall survival rate for studies reporting results from conventional radiation therapy for similar patient groups.

William Beaumont Hospital (Royal Oak, Mich.)—Less invasive SBRT offers comparable outcomes to surgery2
Clinicians at William Beaumont Hospital compared outcomes of 124 patients who either had limited surgery (wedge resection) for their lung cancer (stage I non-small-cell) or SBRT. Led by Inga S. Grills, M.D., physicians selected 58 patients who were medically ineligible for, or refused, lung surgery, and treated them with SBRT instead on a prospective clinical trial.

After 30 months, no significant differences were identified in local tumor recurrence, regional recurrence, or development of distant metastases comparing SBRT to wedge resection. Overall survival was higher in surgical patients given the poor medical conditions of patients treated with SBRT, but SBRT and surgery had identical cause-specific survival.

“After accounting for patients in the study who died of causes other than the primary lung cancer, SBRT and surgery survival probability were exactly the same,” Dr. Grills notes. “This is promising news for patients who are candidates for only limited lung surgery, as SBRT is considerably less invasive when compared to wedge resection and has little to no recovery period.”

Putting tumors in the “cross-hairs”—Elekta SBRT
Elekta SBRT solutions integrate advanced technologies to enable a radiation therapy treatment technique that delivers highly sculpted dose distributions with exceptional precision. This combination of conformity and precision allows higher doses to be used with confidence and safety, with the goal of tumor eradication. Elekta innovations in stereotaxy span six decades and began with the widely known Leksell Gamma Knife® system for highly targeted treatments of brain tumors and other head and neck lesions.

Delivering SBRT is enhanced with state-of-the-art treatment systems, such as Elekta Synergy® S and Elekta Axesse™ , platforms optimized for SBRT and equipped with an array of Elekta SBRT technologies. These Elekta SBRT technologies include world-class tumor targeting solutions, which help physicians to precisely deliver the therapeutic radiation. These use imaging (cone beam CT and kV imaging) to automatically locate and visualize the tumor target with the patient in the treatment position before therapy begins.

Additional SBRT technologies are a wide range of multileaf collimators for precise field shaping, advanced planning solutions that provide highly conformal dose distributions and state-of-the-art patient immobilization and positioning products.

Taken together, Elekta SBRT provides a comprehensive solution that enables world-leading physicians to put tumors in the cross-hairs and safely treat them with high, therapeutic doses over a small number of therapy sessions. The results are better patient outcomes and quality of life.

1.    Timmerman R, Paulus, R, Galvin J., et al. Stereotactic body radiation therapy for inoperable early stage lung cancer. JAMA. 2010;303(11):1070-1076.
2.    Grills IS, Mangona VS, Welsh R, et al. Outcomes after stereotactic lung radiotherapy or wedge resection for stage I non-small-cell lung cancer. J Clin Oncol. 2010 Feb 20;28(6):928-35. Epub 2010 Jan 11.

Editor’s note: Images and streaming video are available in Elekta’s Media Resources Center .

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